Nicholas Lapierre maintained the reputation of France in the A1 Grand Prix after setting a comfortable aggregate pole position at Eastern Creek, and crucially saving his tyres for race day by missing the final qualifying run.

Lapierre has been supremely confident all weekend and ended up some half a second faster than the sum of the two best times from Portuguese driver Alvaro Parente, the best qualifying performance from the reigning British F3 International Series champion in this new series.

Neel Jani for Team Switzerland put off his illness worries to go third fastest, with Brazil fourth, Great Britain fifth, Michael Devaney impressing with a late run to sixth and Team Canada taking seventh on the grid ahead of Holland's Jos Verstappen.

Local knowledge and support didn't seem to count for much in terms of qualifying performance with both Australia and New Zealand starting relatively lowly track positions with Australian Will Davison just ahead of New Zealand's Jonny Reid.

Top times
1. France 2min 37.036secs
2. Portugal 2min 37.526secs
3. Switzerland 2min 37.636secs
4. Brazil 2min 38.082secs
5. Great Britain 2min 38.122secs
6. Ireland 2min 38.627secs
7. Canada 2min 38.636secs
8. Netherlands 2min 38.669secs
9. Malaysia 2min 38.720secs
10. Mexico 2min 38.959secs



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